Esther O'Loughlin 3 Aug 2018 10:04am

Six shows to watch at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The 71st Edinburgh Fringe Festival is kicking off in Scotland today, featuring 3,548 shows throughout the month – a new record. With so many acts to choose from, we put together a list of must see picks. There’s no shortage of variety, whether you’re into political theatre and bubble blowing or military bands and good ol' fashioned stand-up
Caption: With 3,548 shows, there's something for everyone this month

Angry Alan

Angry Alan is one of two plays by multi-award winning playwright Penelope Skinner on at the festival this month (the other being ‘Meek’). Described as “a response to both the men’s rights movement and the rise of Donald Trump”, the play follows Rodger, a man frustrated with empty work and absent relationships, as he becomes affiliated with online “saviour” Angry Alan. A figure who seems to have all the answers. The play touches on deception through technology, the formation of extremist views and how radicalisation can take root among ordinary people, all the while delving into questioned ideas of masculinity and dealing with an identity crisis.

Dylan Moran: Dr Cosmos

A BAFTA and Peirrer award-winning comedian, Moran is well-known with audiences for his social commentary – a hilarious combination of genius poetic timing and grumbling rants. His highly disenchanted views of politics, romance, technology and humanity in general never fail to have crowds giggling. This new show, Dr Cosmos, is not likely differ and critics are already buzzing about it, so get in quick. It will launch at the Festival before embarking on a 49-date UK Tour later in August.

The amazing bubble man

If you’re after something a bit more family-friendly, then the Amazing Bubble Man (AKA Louis Pearl) is an act you won’t want to miss. Pearl combines science with magic, comedy and music, to create mind-boggling bubble art. He’s an old-hat at the Fringe and has reportedly sold out every year for the last 11 years. Each time there are different tricks and stunts and bubbles of all shapes and sizes – but audiences are always given a chance to participate. This year there will reportedly also be live music from Jet Black Pearl.

The royal Edinburgh military tattoo

An internationally renowned celebration of Scottish song and dance, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo draws together hundreds of performers from around the world. Massed Military bands, pipers, cultural troupes, drummers, display teams and dancers are choreographed in front of the Edinburgh Castle, while the whole scene is elevated with spectacular lighting. Of course, the Lone Piper is present, along with some 220,000 audience members, while another 100 million will reportedly watch it on international television.

For Robin Williams: a benefit gig for Aid of Mind and SAMH

It’s hard to believe it has been four years since comedian Robin Williams died. This event celebrates his career and talent. In the process it aims to raise money for mental health charities, with all profits to be donated to Aid of Mind and SAMH. Co-hosted by the hilarious Ed Gamble and Nish Kumar and starring comedy-gold guests including Felicity Ward, Sofie Hagen and Stu Goldsmith, it certainly promises to be nothing short of a celebration.


Last year’s Fringe First winner, Woke is a moving one-woman play tracking the lives of two civil rights activists in two different eras. Co-writer Apphia Campbell portrays both a young university student enrolled amidst the Ferguson riots, and Assata Shakur, a wanted member of the Black Liberation Army in the 70s. Seamlessly shifting between characters and incorporating gospel and blues songs, the play is a powerful comment on the ongoing struggles for civil rights in America. It was highly commended for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award last year and will be returning by popular demand to the festival this year, although only for a week.